Connecticut, US

Sep 09 2019

Visa Restrictions for Foreign Nationals Who Default on Payments to National Health Insurance Service

Republic of Korea (South Korea)

At a Glance

  • The Korean Immigration Service has been restricting the grant of visa extensions and some work/residence permits to foreign nationals who have defaulted on payments to the Korean national health insurance service.
  • This measure seeks to combat the abuse of the national health insurance system by those who leave Korea after undergoing expensive medical treatment under the national health insurance system.
  • Employers with foreign nationals who have defaulted on national health insurance system payments will encounter difficulties and limitations in extending their foreign workers’ visas. 

The situation

Since August 1, 2019, the Korean Immigration Service (KIS) has been restricting the grant of visa extensions and some work/residence permits to foreign nationals who have defaulted on payments to the Korean national health insurance service.

A closer look

Foreign nationals who are found to have defaulted on their premium payments up to three times will only be granted a visa extension up to six months (previously, if requested, a longer extension period would be granted).  No visa extensions will be granted to those who default more than three times.

Impact

Foreign nationals will need to ensure they pay their national health insurance premiums on a timely basis to prevent visa/work permit/residence permit restrictions.

Employers with foreign nationals who have defaulted on national health insurance system payments will encounter difficulties and limitations in extending their foreign workers’ visas. 

Background

This measure seeks to combat the abuse of the national health insurance system by those who leave Korea after undergoing expensive medical treatment under the national health insurance system.

This new immigration measure came into effect in line with a new national health insurance rule that came into effect in July 2019 that generally requires all foreign nationals staying in South Korea for six months or more to be enrolled in Korean national health insurance system, unless they opt out by filing an exclusion application.

Looking ahead

Because this measure is at the beginning stages of implementation, the rule is subject to change with or without notice. Fragomen will report on related developments.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to APCCInitiations@fragomen.com.